Am I dating myself if I ask you about the color of Silly Putty? You know, the dirty, well-loved Silly Putty after it has been used on newsprint a few times. Looks a little gross, but it provided lots of fun for me when I was a kid….and there is interesting history of the gooey stuff to read here. And if you can’t get enough, put in Silly Putty in Google images to see the many playful uses of this stuff.
The dirty, well-used Silly Putty
Anyway, when I see this pinkish-brown color I think of Silly Putty and I happen to love it. Here is another version from the same pattern green jacket I made here with a few changes.
I absolutely love this OOP Simplicity 2153 pattern. It is still available for sale on various sites on the web. I have plans to make this up in a khaki twill fabric to have a safari-like vest or jacket. My favorite part of the jacket is the length which means my hands fit comfortably into the pockets and that it covers my rear. A definite plus in my book.
The fabric is a linen and rayon blend, which means that it gets a rumpled look but it breathes well. It is also lightweight, which is important for layering and living in the desert. If I need more warmth, adding a scarf usually does the trick.
Silly Putty Back View
In the above picture, the jacket looks like it has white splotches all over it, but it is just shadows. It is roomy without looking too big. I made a size 14.
Below is an up close shot of the pockets with the selvedges sewn around the tops of the pockets. This was a different approach than with the olive version. I tried to achieve a worn in look that didn’t look too formal or fussy, not that this would ever look like a formal jacket, but I wanted to be able to pull out of the closet, put it on and go.
Above, you can see that I used the selvedge and incorporated it into the pocket and collar. I always look at the selvedges of the fabrics I purchase and see how they hold up during the laundering phase. If they survive and have an appealing look, I experiment with ways to include them into the garment. The collar contains elastic in the outer edge and is sewn to the ties. I won’t be cinching it up so leaving it this way just makes the collar stand up, stay in place and ready for wear.
Inside elastic casing with bias tape
I purchased my zipper for the olive jacket and this jacket from ZipperShipper. They have a great selection, good prices and fast shipping. I guessed on the ‘medium brown’ color knowing it wouldn’t be a perfect match for this weird shade of brown, but it works and the quality of the zipper is great.
Elastic casing made with bias tape
Something I repeated from the olive green jacket was the elastic waist casing. I pulled the elastic to a comfortable measurement, attached the ties and then knotted them. This means that I can grab the coat and GO. No fussing about with a fidgety waist drawstring. I can always count on the elastic gathering evenly.
If I want to add a little more interest, I have a me-made necklace I made out of acrylic beads or a scarf to pair with it.
There is a reason why a M-65 Army utility jacket like this has been so popular over the years for military, fishing, hunting and fashion. I get it! It provides pockets galore, no-fuss practical style and if you happen to sew, it can be made up in many types of fabric. If you happen to be interested in the history of such a jacket, here is an article worth reading.
In the spirit of early fall and pumpkin season, I whipped up this Butterick 5925, a Katherine Tilton tunic. Have I mentioned how I love it when the end of October rolls around and brings a little chill to the air? This is the consistent time of year in Tucson when sweaters and coats are realistic to wear. I happen to love it (I probably should be living in a cooler climate). I also love this top because it is easy to make, uses up some small knit remnants for the accents and is very comfortable.
The long necklace is thrifted from a local bookstore – a little unexpected find from an unusual place. It is jasper and hand knotted. I think I paid $12.
As you can see from the line drawing, there are many ways to combine fabrics. I chose View B but left off the pocket. I didn’t want to add any bulk at the hip and have the stripe fabric be more visible. The contrast I chose was simpler than Katherine had designed for View B, where you can incorporate 3 fabrics. I shortened the sleeves to a 3/4 length which is a year round length for me AND allows for a little visible arm candy.
This style shirt and the use of different knit fabrics allow for so many options. I had no fitting issues, except for the neck band which is always tricky so that it lays flat. You know, a neck band that is not too tight, not too loose = SAGGY. Yuck. In the words of Michael Kors, “Becky Home-Ecky”. No preventable saggy necks. So what to do? I haven’t figured out the perfect formula for the knit neck bands. Online classes and various teachers have suggested three-quarters of the neck circumference should be the neck band length, but that doesn’t always work due to the amount of stretch the fabric may have. If it is a low stretch, like Ponte knit or matte jersey, the neck strip will need to be longer in order to stretch around the neckline and still lay flat. Super stretchy fabric will be shorter in length for the neckband. I find pinning it and distributing it as evenly as possible around the neckline works best. Basically, I have to experiment every time. I like to jot down the length on my instruction sheet to a have reference info for the future.
Here is another jewelry option. Earrings are from Payless Shoe Source!! Can you believe it? Never underestimate the gems that can be found in unlikely places. The necklace is self made with agate tubes and spacer beads.
Below, the side view shows how a triangle piece adds great interest (often called a gore).
Here is the Google definition pertaining to fabric:
noun: gore; plural noun: gores
1. a triangular or tapering piece of material used in making a garment, sail, or umbrella.
verb: gore; 3rd person present: gores; past tense: gored; past participle: gored; gerund or present participle: goring
1. make with a gore-shaped piece of material.
“a gored skirt”
This is the cover stitch hem I did using 4 different threads with my Janome CoverPro machine. As you can see, the three threads show on top. The fourth thread color is on the underneath side.
I even had enough fabric left over to make a tank and infinity scarf. I have a post about infinity scarves here.
The tank is from the Ann’s Cardigan post. I lengthened it a bit from the waist down so that it can be worn as a vest over a button down shirt or under a cardigan or jacket. The scarf can be worn with the rust boots, and a completely different outfit.
Here is the 8 inch slit on the side of the tank.
So there you have it. Another completed sewing project and some jewelry to match. I hope you will grab this pattern while it is still in the Butterick book and make one up.
If you have been perusing my About blog page, you have seen a glimpse of my extensive fabric collection, an now I’m confessing to you that I have the same problem with beads. This is why I will not allow myself to start any more hobbies. I HAVE NO MORE ROOM. To use up some of the great beads in my stash, I experimented with an ombre (defined as having colors or tones that shade into each other) design, putting a dent in my stash. I aim to inspire you to make something up for yourself or give as a gift.
Blended Bead Soup Necklace
The most difficult part about making this necklace was having the space to spread out the necessary colored beads of different shapes and sizes. I spread them out on my living room floor and started stringing the strands. It was messy, but worth it. My Game Plan:
Odd number of strands
Alternate different shaped beads next to one another
Transition colors in a subtle way
Audition final layout
Auditioning the layout
Here, you can see I placed the strands next to one another to see what I liked best.
Above, I reversed the strands to see what it would look like…hmm, not sure.
Switched back. I think I like this best. Just to be sure, take the time to play around with it a few times before committing to the final decision.
Using bead stoppers
Here, I arranged the necklace as I would wear it and could determine if I needed to add more beads to the outer strands for the necklace to lay right. The idea is to keep the color groupings together as they curve around.
Add more black or white to ends
It’s time to add a crimp to the ends of the strands, attach to the closure and add crimp covers to hide the crimps. Oops, look like I need to add two crimp covers to the bottom strands. Rushed to take the picture!
Slide Bar Closure
Many closures would work, but I liked this hinged and slide closure/clasp for three reasons:
1.) It laid flat against my neck
2.) It kept the strands separated
3.) Easy to use.
I purchased the closure from Joann’s, but could not find it on their website to provide a link. Here is something similar.
Up Close and Personal
This is an up close view of how the beads can be arranged–do what you want.
Blended Bead Soup
It is a great creative project allowing for so many possibilities. I want to try some other unusual color combinations just out of curiosity…..and to deplete the stash a bit more. Have fun with your own leftover beads.
Dismantle and combine old unworn necklaces and bracelets to make something new
Check your local thrift stores for possible jewelry to use
Make a long single strand blending colors
I hope this inspires you to make your own creation. Let me know what you think. Enjoy.
*Slideshow will change or you can click on the arrows to the left/right to advance to next photo.
Because I love to sew, fabric purchases are my first and foremost weakness. (My family can attest to that!) Running a close second is a compulsion to purchase RTW accessories, completing the artistic vision I have in my head. Sometimes I resort to making my own jewelry out of beads and findings, which takes third place. Okay, I have said it here: NO MORE HOBBIES!
It was great fun putting some combinations together of some pieces I have collected over the years. Some are old, some new, but because the black/white or black/cream pairings are so constant in fashion, it has been easy to amass quite a pile. To see the coordinating Small Black Capsule wardrobe pieces, click here.
Links to buy these would be futile as I pop into stores now and then (Ross, Target, Stein Mart) and consider myself lucky to find seasonal, affordable accessories that last for years. The same is true for beads and findings from Michael’s, Jo Ann’s or the Tucson Bead Shows. I hope this post serves as a point of inspiration to make, sew, shop, or thrift treasures that fit your style and wardrobe.
Do you have a collection of black accessories ready to wear for most occasions in your life? Do you weaken at the sight of just the right accessory?
You may be wondering what this shirt has to do with a ‘Fashion Happy Conference’ and it simply is a purchase I made from a vendor (Lady Joan’s Boutique) at our most recent women’s conference here in Tucson. The fabric is a crushed poly, so it is easy care and great for packing. As the fabric is stretched, more of the second color is revealed. Here is a close up of the fabric: *Check out her site for more colors in sleeved versions and tank tops.
A friend of mine invited me to the event, which I had never heard of, and was pleased to attend. It was the second year for this event, and it’s main focus was all things fashion, wellness, and beauty offered be local businesses. To learn more about the vendors, classes and key note speaker, click here
The day was structured in such a way that you could choose to attend three of the 15 classes offered in three different one-hour time blocks. There were breakout sessions between classes to allow time for shopping, networking with vendors and attendees, get a massage, polish change, etc. Lunch was served to those who purchased the full ticket price or there discounted tickets for those just wanting to attend classes and shop, but no lunch. Some of the teachers also had booths, so if during class a question did not get addressed, the teachers could be found at their booths later for follow up or even one-on one appointments at another time.
I chose to go to the three following classes: Small Wardrobe? BIG Impact, Yes, you can!, and Come Fly With Me. The class descriptions are here Since I have been thinking about my next step in life and what do do with this passion I have for sewing, accessories and presenting, I thought it would be a good idea to check out these specific classes. I wanted to attend more, but the way this was structured, I’ll have to wait until next year and see if they are offered again.
So here is another item I purchased from Lady Joan. This was a new vest to her collection. Contact her here if interested. (Necklace is a recent purchase from Downtown East, which has recently closed it’s doors, but here is something similar.) The minute I saw this, I wanted it. First, I wanted to copy the pattern….more on that later. I also loved the way it was designed and cut out capitalizing on the border print. And thirdly, I am always looking for clothes that can be styled in many ways. Here are just a few ways I have discovered so far to wear this great vest: Instead of having the collar cascade down in a waterfall in the center, this way the collar hangs down in the back causing the front to look more like a cape or shawl covering the arms.
Here, I have belted it.
Fiddled with it to change up the look.
This is knotted in the front at bust level. It could also be knotted at the waist, but I found it top be too bulky.
And the last way to wear this is to turn it into a scarf. Put the two armholes together to create the loop. Pull ends through.
So here is the pattern piece I drew from the vest. If the vest is opened up, it looks like an oblong doughnut. I simply folded the vest in half and drew around the edges. The poly chiffon vest is hemmed with a narrow hem from a serger, but could be narrow hemmed by a sewing machine also.
I haven’t measured it exactly, but it could be any size with the two armholes cut into the center as shown. One idea is to measure the length you want from the bottom of the armhole to the desired hem. As you can see from the back view, this is where a border print could be featured. This opens up some pattern drafting possibilities and ways to use some chiffon in my stash!!
My favorite part of the day was winning the grand prize drawing! It was the end to a long losing streak of raffles, drawings, lottery tickets, etc. We have one year to plan an overnight, in town, little get-a-way stay-cation kind of thing. Free champagne, continental breakfast, and late check out. Whoo Hoo!
I met some great people, learned about new business opportunities, picked up some tips from the classes and had a delicious lunch. What a great day!
Dana’s Shades of Olive Jacket with Semi-Precious Stone Lariat Necklace
I was fortunate enough to spend a few days with my mom at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington last year at about this time (Feb/Mar), and I’m a little sad I didn’t go this year. It was my first sewing expo out of Arizona and I wanted to share one aspect in more detail with you.
One of the big highlights was meeting Linda MacPhee, a patterns designer, teacher, sewing enthusiast, vendor, among other talents. Here is a jacket kit I purchased from her after seeing the kit and the finished product. From the list of presenters for 2014, I don’t think Linda attended this year, but she still offers the pattern in two color choices on her website here. If you have a moment, check out the website for the Expo for 2015. It is fun to look at the sight to get a taste of all that is available. I highly recommend attending if you want to be surrounded by sewing enthusiasts, great instructors and an ‘seamingly’-never-ending supply of vendors and supplies. It’s exhausting!
Linda MacPhee and Dana Belasco in Puyallup, WA 2013
The catchy title of ‘Shades of Gray’ was a deliberate attempt to get the attention of customers and cause them to stop by the booth and ask questions about this art-to-wear jacket. Here we are at her booth and advertising her gray jacket kit. She was such a delight to meet in person. I have been a member of the American Sewing Guild, Tucson Chapter in years past and had heard that she had come to our city of offer classes and demos, but for some reason, I never attended. It was my loss. She is so friendly and warm. My mom and I must have said the right things because we were asked to be models in Linda’s fashion show on the main stage!
After getting to talk to her, Linda conveyed that sewing needs to be to simplified, making it as easy as possible to open up to new and different ways to be creative. Sometimes, we get in our own way and complicate a pattern’s process, or get intimidated before even starting something and as a result, never get it off the ground and finished. So…….this jacket has taken a year to complete! More about why later in the post.
Linda prepares the kits herself by providing various remnant squares of fabrics from her suppliers. The kit fabrics have the weight and feel of home decorator and stretch woven fabrics. The additional fabric needed is the sleeve fabric of your choice. Linda chose a heavy sweater knit for her sleeves because she lives in Canada and wanted extra warmth. I selected a black cotton/poly knit remnant from my stash. This kit requires some planning and prep to make this jacket come alive.
Somehow, she knows how much fabric to provide as well as a zipper, pattern, and creative suggestions in the instructions. The idea is to come up with your own configuration. Basically, you are creating the fabric for the jacket like a puzzle. The placement of all fabrics need to look right and balanced and pleasing to the eye. It can also be a great way to use up some laces and trims as well as any other fabric remnants from the stash.
Linda MacPhee Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA
As you can see, she added lace, stitching, a rhinestone encrusted zipper, and a creative assortment of related and coordinating fabrics
‘Shades of Gray’ Back View, Sewing and Stitchery Expo 2013, Puyallup, WA
Below is Linda’s sample of the olive jacket to help customers see how the pieces can come together. In the background, you can see all of the MacPhee Workshop patterns stacked and ready for sale. There is so much to take in! There are great garment samples from her various patterns made up for the sole purpose to try them on for size and fit. She offers guidance with pattern selection to suit your lifestyle needs. Some garments hang on racks for sale made up out of fabrics available at her booth. She is so generous with her techniques and tips it is hard to not get so excited and grab the next available sewing machine in sight and get started.
‘Shades of Olive’ Sample Jacket
Back view of partially finished Shades of Olive sample jacket
Selvage and lace used on back
Here, Linda used the selvage and lace to add interest and texture to the back. It can also be a way to hide the butting of a seam or blend two fabrics together.
Textured fabrics paired at sleeve and back
These two fabrics were very different and yet coordinated nicely. One is a flocked printed denim and the other is a scrolled design with a reversible side.
Two-pieced sleeve and princess seamed sides
The pattern Linda chose to include in the kit features the two pieced sleeve and princess seams to not only allow a better fit, but another opportunity to combine more fabrics in small doses to add interest.
So here is my jacket. At a glance, they look alike, but they are very different. My mom provided a scrap of fabric that I used throughout, like on the right pocket. I also added laces of different widths at seam joints. I suppose no two jackets could be the same because the fabric in the kits may vary and the arrangement of them will be different for every person. You can see the back side pieces are from the same scrap fabric from my mom, only reversed. It has a slight gold fleck in it and looked great on both sides so I had to find a way to show both sides. Plus, it blended well with all of the other fabrics. So why did it take me a whole year to complete? Well, I was moving right along without a hitch with the fabric piecing, but had difficulty getting the sleeves to set properly. I’m not sure if I didn’t mark the reference points right or what, but I didn’t notice they weren’t in correctly until they had been sewn and serged. They didn’t hang properly and had to be ripped out. I got discouraged, and frankly, allowed myself to get distracted by other sewing projects. It sat until I forced myself to tackle some of my UFO’s (UnFinished Objects).
I hope this post inspires you to look at your patterns and fabrics in a new way. Maybe there is the possibility of a hidden jacket ‘kit’ in your stash.
Now, for the lariat necklace. If you want to know more about it, click here to get the details.
Iriedescent Sea Glass, Green Crystal, White Pearls and Silver
Here is another creation from my recent purchases from this year’s Tucson Gem and Mineral February 2013 Show held here in Tucson. Every year, I vow to keep the spending under control. Well, I am usually unsuccessful. Or this may be subjective. The amount spent by one person may be outrageous to another. Anyway, there are always new and returning vendors with wonderful inventory from which to choose. The picture may not show it, but the color of these cubes are like moonstone; opaque white with a subtle coating of pinks, greens, purple, and blue. The green crystals came from a stretch bracelet I purchased at NY&Co. I cut the elastic, sorted the beads, bagged them, and you will see them in future posts I’m sure. The silver endcaps and pearls are from the stash. The chain was purchased at the Gem Show. Chain in all designs, metal finishes, price ranges are prevalent at many of the vendors. The rationalization is to buy it now and save on shipping, right???
Iridescent Sea Glass from the Tucson Gem Show
This necklace is neutral enough to be worn with denim, greens, white. It will be featured in the future with some sewing project to follow.
Coral Necklace wrapped three times equals a choker
This is an easy necklace to make. Wear it in the way that best suits your neckline and proportions. Simple stringing with a lobster claw clasp and chain allows the necklace to be lengthened or shortened and worn any way you want. Supplies were beads I had in my stash. Frankly, I just started stringing in a random pattern to use up all three feature bead types.
1.) Coral nuggets and glass beads from JoAnne’s in the same color
2.) Tangerine pearls
3.) Delica peach seed beads for spacing in between
4.) Beading wire (I used thin beading wire to fit through the pearls. I strung right from the spool not cutting until I ran out of beads)
5.) 2 Crimp beads
I wanted a simple necklace in the popular coral color and thought this would be a great accessory. Sometimes I just want to whip something up quickly but it often ends up as a simply-strung necklace that is boring. This can be mixed with other necklaces, or worn in the following 4 ways.
Coral Knotted Necklace
Double Strand Coral Necklace
Coral Necklace up close
Can you see the small seed beads in between beads?
Coral Necklace 44″ Long
Up close of barrel magnetic closure
This is the closure I found at Joanne’s. Not great gold quality, but very versatile. I can use the barrel magnetic closure to open or close by unscrewing one side from the other or use the lobster claw to adjust the lengths. I need to add crimp covers to make it look more finished. I was in a hurry to post this. I need to do my nails.
Extended to longest length using lobster clasps
Magnetic Lobster Clasp from Joann’s
The shortest length if worn in a single strand way is about 44″long.
Length is 44″
The chain adds another 4 inches or so which allows the necklace to be worn three times around neck like a choker.
Length is 48″Long
Coral Necklace wrapped three times=a choker
I hope you enjoyed this and learned something from it. Happy beading.